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EDR ScoreKeeper – 2011 Trends in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

I noticed in EDR ScoreKeeper’s Q1 2011 and Q2 2011 report that big consulting firms are growing at a larger rate than small firms.  Apparently lenders and real estate investors are increasingly choosing larger firms for their Phase I Environmental Site Assessments.  

I spoke with two national lenders who said that they were trying to narrow their list and cutting the mom and pops in favor of large firms.    Both clients cited perceived quality in the national firm.   Notice, I say perceived.    Industry insiders recognize that many small firms do excellent Phase I ESAs.   However, when pushing reports out to multiple stakeholders these two environmental bankers felt that there is a perceived premium in the national firms.   One of these clients regularly leads syndications and I am sure that they prefer to push a nationally recognized firm to their syndicate partners even if the small and less-known firm does good work.

Working at a large firm, I welcome the trend.  I certainly feel that there is irregularity in the quality of Phase I ESA from firm to firm.  While I am sure that the non-EDR ScoreKeeper Top 25 firms disagree, I believe that we have a better chance of pushing a quality agenda through few firms than we do through many.